Friday, June 1, 2007

International Children's Day

Today, June 1st, is International Children’s Day, celebrated throughout the world except the U.K , the USA and … (let me know about your country).

Here it is more important for children than Christmas. Every school has been decorated for massive parties, every parent makes sure her/his child is in their finest, there will be music, food and games in every classroom.

Since Jaime started pre-school, we have been involved in this. Truly, a great, and fun occasion for the kids. A massive party with all their colleagues. I think the teachers do a marvellous job for the kids. As I drove past Jaime’s ex-primary school yesterday afternoon, I noticed the classrooms have been decorated with paper-chains etc.

For us, as Jaime and Kezia’s parents, it is quite sad that the U.K. does not celebrate this festival. Jaime is on half-term holiday this week.

Yes, I know that U.K. schools probably celebrate other holidays, in these days of multiculturalism (Xmas, Eids, Diwali etc), with equal vigour, but a neutral international day resolves all.

Holidays: Christmas Day in this essentially Christian country does not have much significance culturally – it is not a day of giving presents. It is not a special day for kids. When the immediate post-independence government renamed it Family Day they were actually recognising a reality.

Apart from today, the only other really big holiday of the year is New Year’s Day (1 January) when we all go to the beach to wash off the old year and put on new (or at least clean) clothes for the new year. The beaches are packed with picnicing families.

Presents: most people are too poor to get into present giving. However, the kids are thrilled to bits with a new shirt, dress, shoes etc. I remember that such items were not really considered presents in my childhood.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Even here in France, where religion is not supposed to be on the menu at school, they celebrate Christmas, Carnival (last day before Lent), and have the public holidays which are caused by Christian festivals (most lately, Pentecost(?), Whitsun in England).... However, I can't say I noticed anything to do with International Children's Day, and there doesn't seem to be anything in M's school books this week to suggest it was even mentioned at school. In a supposedly multicultural, secular environment, that's a little odd. I'll mention it to the teacher next week.